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Bathroom History

The wall was decorated with lilac blossoms

which we stripped in long gashes

from where a pink epidermis-like layer of oil paint

leered, someone’s idea of bathroom décor


which we burned with a hissing blow torch

revealing patches of mottled gray thickness

clinging to the plaster with such tenacity

that we were sure it was the original owner’s


dreadful color scheme, until a piece broke off

like a skin of flaky pastry exposing a sky-blue

layer underneath; in the end we got a handyman who

covered the whole lot with terra-cotta ceramic tiling


Some people are like that, Uncle Wilhelm for instance,

to look at him in his rocking chair you’d never guess

he’s been married five times and God knows how many lovers

before that as his first wedding was at age thirty-one


I’ve seen the photographs, all peeling now; nowadays

his Philippina maid washes his back with a sponge

while he sits in that plastic chair under the shower

dreaming through his Alzheimer's

as the warm soap suds drift down his skin

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© Johnmichael Simon



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